Jonathan Sacks, in his extraordinary book The Great Partnership: Science, Religion and The Search for Meaning says “Power is to be used not to impose truth, but to preserve peace.” As I read that line, it became clear to me why the Obama Presidency is a failure and will be remembered as such.
Beginning with then candidate Obama’s promise in 2008 that we were “five days away from a fundamental transformation of America” through President Obama’s forced passage of Obamacare to his current unrelenting push to allow potentially dangerous refugees into the country, his trail of achievements have been an exercise in imposing truth, his truth, upon an unsuspecting, unwilling and at times resistant nation.
Because this President has merged power and force within his own mind, and justified the merger, he sees no bar to imposing his personal will despite the fact that he was elected under a Constitution that prohibits such unilateral action.
President Obama misused the power of the office he was granted to impose his truth whenever and wherever he sought to impose it; but of greater significance is the fact that, by so doing, he failed to apply that power to its rightful purpose: to preserve the peace.
And so, what seven years of the misuse of power has brought us is a more dangerous world, both foreign and domestic. No one could dispute the fact that the world is a more dangerous and less peaceful place than it was at the outset of the Obama Presidency. ISIS and the resulting Syrian refugee crisis speak for themselves, as does Putin’s alliances with Iran and the Russian energy-dependent foothold he is establishing throughout Europe. Our nuclear deal with Iran is a fiasco and a dangerous one entered into for the sole purpose of giving this President a longed for foreign policy “legacy.” Israel, a bastion of Western values and the only stable democratic nation in the region, is in a more tenuous and vulnerable position as a result of President Obama’s personal disdain for its Prime Minister.
Domestically, the President has failed to effect the preservation of peace as well. Race relations are at a new low with bullying and violence the tools of the trade for those seeking to exploit the example set by the President …based upon his truth that we are a racist nation and our police are brutal, homicidal and corrupt.
Personally, each of us has less peace of mind in our own lives because, in addition to the above stated, the economy is built upon a fiction and we can sense the inevitable chaos and loss that is forewarned now by even the most conservative economic advisors.
Yes, President Obama is a failure because he was entrusted with the power to preserve peace and, instead, he squandered that power to satisfy his own egoic needs and impose his own truths. Such is not the hallmark of a leader but rather that of a bully. Noteworthy leaders are found throughout our history and the stories of greatness we tell to inspire future generations. Bullies fade into oblivion leaving nothing of substance behind but unpleasant memories of the poor choices they made and the harm they caused along the way.
Yes, it will be remembered that President Obama had, for a time, a bully-pulpit… a rare opportunity that he squandered to, instead, become a bully.